The Creativity in Blended Interaction Spaces (CIBIS) project develops and explores blended interaction spaces that support the creative potential of high-school students. The objectives are:
- To demonstrate the potential for integrating multiple digital devices and analog materials in a shared environment, to support individual and group creativity.
- To develop the theoretical foundation for the study of constraints on creativity, design ideas, generative design materials, and creative methods in design processes.
As a foundation for achieving these objectives, CIBIS has established an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers from the computer sciences, interaction design, and creativity research. This research is taking place in partnership with two major, innovative international companies (LEGO and Designit), three high schools, and the Academy for Talented Youth. International collaborators include Université Paris-Sud, City University, London, and Technische Universiteit, Eindhoven.
Today, more and more forms of human activity involve a repertoire of digital devices, ranging from cell phones to tablets and desktop computers, to electronic whiteboards and wall-sized displays. Whereas some integration across multiple devices is supported by access to shared data, for example, via cloud computing services, more sophisticated kinds of integration that connect devices and amplify their potential are limited. Interestingly, many creative practices, including important drivers in the Danish economy, such as design and architecture, still rely to a large extent on analog materials and tools, for instance, pen and paper, Post-it® notes, and whiteboards, which are neither connected to, nor supported digitally. As the engine for advancing research into ICT-supported creative practice, the CIBIS project develops and explores blended interaction spaces for supporting and developing the creative potential of young people at the high school level. The project explores the following research themes:
- Blended Interaction is interaction in physical environments augmented by ICT, to combine the power of digital computing and the physical environment. Blended Interaction seeks to combine the strengths of analog and digital artifacts in a complimentary way, so that the desired properties of each are preserved. Blended Interaction Spaces connect personal and collaborative computing, for example, by implementing personal devices such as phones and tablets as interaction tools for large, shared displays, or combining interactive tables and whiteboards with analog tools, such as pen and paper. Research Question [RQ] 1 is key: What kind of software infrastructure can handle a dynamic mix of individual and shared, analog and digital devices and artifacts, and which interaction paradigm(s) scaffold the interweaving of individual and collaborative computer use?
- Individual and social activities. CIBIS posits that the individual vs. social creation dichotomy is artificial: real-life creativity almost always takes place in both spheres, albeit at different times, which CIBIS investigates by addressing RQ2: How can Blended Interaction Spaces facilitate the seamless integration of individual creative sessions with collaborative ones, allowing ideas to travel across platforms and contextual boundaries?
- Constraints on Creativity. Although constraints act as obstructions, by determining what cannot be done, they also give rise to new opportunities, and inspire creative breakthroughs, which leads to RQ3: What is the nature of constraints on creativity, and how can they be balanced and managed in a creative process?
- Transformation of design ideas. It is generally acknowledged that sources of inspiration play a crucial role in creative processes, which leads to RQ4: How can we conceptualize the emergence of design ideas, and the transformation of design ideas across devices in Blended Interaction Spaces?
- Generative design materials. D. Schön coined the term “generative metaphors,” indicating the generation of new perceptions, explanations, and inventions. CIBIS extends the concept to generative design materials, to examine RQ5: How can generative design materials, digital and analog, spark ideation, and generate momentum in a creative process?
- Creativity-supporting approaches. A number of interaction design methods support ideation and creativity. CIBIS will provide a systematic overview of such approaches, as part of a strategy of investigating RQ6: How can creativity be supported and/or augmented by Blended Interaction Spaces, and how can new approaches harness the potential of Blended Interaction Spaces?